Jamshedpur, March 17: Tata Trusts has joined hands with Tata Steel, Bovelander and Bovelander B.V and One Million Hockey Legs, Netherlands, to promote hockey in India and galvanize the sport through professionalization of grassroots level hockey in the country.
An announcement was made in this regard on Thursday in line with Hockey in India initiative.
Sunil Bhaskaran, vice-president, corporate services, Tata Steel; Burzis Taraporewala, secretary and chief accountant, Tata Trusts; Arub Pandhi of Tata Trusts; hockey legend and founder of Bovelander Hockey Academy Floris Jan Bovelander; Rob Van Nes, associated with the project One Million Hockey Legs and Khorshed Talati, a senior development officer of Tata Trust embarked on their first step of introducing the “Tata Hockey Academy” in Jamshedpur with the launch of the official logo and gear.
“The Academy will be set up in Jamshedpur and we are looking forward to the right place in the city where the Astroturf will be laid. The academy would be fully functional, as there is no better place than Jamshedpur to set up a residential world class academy,” said Sunil Bhaskaran.
Addressing the media after the launch of official logo and gear, Bhaskaran added, “The tribal and backward people of the villages will be directly connected and we would see future world champion from a small village of Jharkhand.”
He informed that in coming six to eight months timeline, the academy will have its dedicated infrastructure including the center and Astroturf pitch in the Steel city.
Bhaskaran further said all efforts are on to set up a global standard Tata Hockey Academy with a full-size Astroturf pitch in Jamshedpur. The first batch of hockey players in the academy will be drawn from the grassroots level program, which is being flagged off at its launch. Through the Tata Hockey Academy, this partnership will not only professionalize grassroots level hockey, but also revive hockey in Jharkhand with a view to bring back its illustrious years.
Burzis Taraporevala said, “It’s a proud moment for all of us to kick start the academy and with 2018 Hockey World Cup happening in India.
We will see players from Indian wing of Bovelander Academy shinning at the top level.”
“The association with schools in Jharkhand would benefit the children at a very early age. We are proud to have association with Bovelander and it will go a long way in producing players. The project will touch 50,000 school boys and girls and aims at generating 200 high quality players at the end of a three-year period,” added Taraporevala.
Floris Jan Bovelander, Olympic and Hockey World Cup champion who is also the assistant coach of the Dutch national team and member of the executive board of One Million Hockey Legs, said, “Tata Hockey Academy is going to create a meaningful impact at the grass root level – both in the field of this fantastic game of hockey as well as the lives of the people who are interested in this game.
India boasts of an immense talent pool; and with the necessary institutional structure and guidance, we hope to bring a sustainable structure for developing world class players by identifying their skill-sets and talent early on.”
“By enrolling school hockey projects, we also focus on the social parts of sport by teaching the children their necessary life-skills. This partnership is in sync with our goal to reach the one million hockey legs by the 2018 World Cup which is scheduled to take place in India and we are excited to see the outcome in the coming years,” he said.
The launch preceded a Hockey Clinic for 40 children at the J.R.D. Tata Sports Complex with both Indian and Dutch Hockey stars present. The program already has Dutch hockey star Kiki Collotd’Escury.
As a precursor to the launch and with the approaching summer holidays, a friendly hockey match was organized on Wednesday in Khunti, where two schools competed for the trophy. After the match, about 80-100 children were trained by Floris and the program ambassadors.
Over the next 2 months, Tata Hockey Academy through the Tata Trusts associate organization “Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives (CINI)” will conduct training camps for children from over 100 schools across Khunti district.
Parallel to this, former hockey players from Khunti will be identified and trained as master trainers (MTs), who will be responsible for a set number of schools and provide theoretical and practical training to children on a weekly basis.
Children showing high potential will be identified and provided elite hockey training to further hone their talent. Over a period of three years, the Tata Hockey Academy aims to identify and train 200 girls and boys to participate in competitive level hockey.
Importantly, as CINI is working to improve early education in Khunti district, all participating children will continue to receive quality education and not neglect their studies for hockey training.